Uganda orders all social media to shut down ahead of presidential elections
The Ugandan Communications Commission ordered all mobile operators to block access to all social media platforms ahead of the country’s presidential elections.
The East African nation showed up at the polls on Thursday, January 14, for an election in which the looming Yoweri Museveni faces 10 candidates, including opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentama (commonly known as Boby Vine). a singer-turned-legislator whose stellar power shook. party in power as never before.
Boby Vine, 38, and his platform of national unity have rallied young people to challenge Museveni, 75, who has been in power since 1986; using the power of social media in massive campaigns that have resulted in many of his aides, bodyguards and members of his entourage being arrested, imprisoned and killed.
Major tech giants Facebook on Monday removed a network in Uganda linked to the country’s Ministry of Information for using fake and duplicate accounts to post ahead of this week’s presidential election, prompting strong criticism from the government.
Uganda ordered internet service providers to block all social media platforms and messaging apps on Tuesday until further notice, according to a letter from the country’s communications regulator, which Reuters read.
Earlier Tuesday, users complained that they did not have access to Facebook and WhatsApp, social networks widely used to campaign ahead of Thursday’s presidential elections in the East African country.
“The Ugandan Communications Commission urges you to immediately cease all access and use, direct or otherwise, of all social networks and messaging applications on the network until further notice,” the director said in a letter. executor of the commission to Internet providers.
Commission spokesman Ibrahim Bbossa and government spokesman Ofwono Opondo did not respond to calls for comment. Assistant Information Minister Judith Nabakuba said she could not comment at this time.
A Ugandan telecom source said the government has made it clear to telecom executives that the social media ban is in retaliation for Facebook’s blocking of some pro-government accounts.